Professional Land Surveyor Qualifications

The requirements for licensing as a professional land surveyor vary from state to state. To find out the requirements for the state in which you intend to practice, you’ll need to contact your state licensing board through the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). Generally, a professional land surveyor must complete the licensure requirements in his/her state of residence in order to receive a professional license. In many states, land surveyors must also re-register every few years in order to practice land surveying as a profession.

Qualifying for the exam
Components of a state license for land surveying usually include a land surveying examination, as well as a work record of several years of active work in surveying. (Most states require at least four years of work experience before the examinations may be taken.) One of the most common national tests to qualify for a Professional Surveyors license is the ELSES, LLC, which is offered by NCEES. Many states also offer their own licensing examinations; contact the state in which you reside for specific information on the tests required for licensure in your state.

To gain the knowledge required for these examinations, most people studying for this license obtain a B.S. degree in Land Surveying from a school accredited by ABET, or the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology. This nationally recognized organization sets the standard for engineering and similar programs to ensure that graduates of such programs will have the knowledge to pass the examination and obtain the correct licensure. While it is possible to obtain a license without this degree, it will likely require more effort to pass the examination. In many cases, regardless of your education, you must be approved by your state in order to sit for the exam. Most professional land surveyors first obtain the degree in land surveying, and then work to gain experience for several years before attempting to qualify as a professional land surveyor.

Continuing education
After obtaining their first Professional Land Surveyor license, land surveyors in most jurisdictions must complete continuing education requirements. The number of hours of training to be completed each year varies greatly by state. This continuing education ensures that professional land surveyors stay current on consumer expectations and other current issues in their field, and provides updated knowledge and skills. All land surveys must be completed by a licensed surveyor who has kept up with the continuing education requirements as laid out by the state in which they are licensed.

If you move to a different state after becoming a Professional Land Surveyor, in most cases you will need to repeat the process for licensure, as the requirements differ between states. For example, you may need to pass an additional exam, or submit proof of your experience, education, or prior examinations or licenses.

Although membership in a professional society for land surveyors is not a requirement to practice land surveying, most professional land surveyors belong to such societies. To remain a member of most professional organizations for the practice of land surveying, surveyors must maintain a code of ethics.